Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       March 13, 2009

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts: Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice; Linda A. Puchala, Member, National Mediation Board; James W. Miller, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service, United States Department of Agriculture; Dallas P. Tonsager, Under Secretary for Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture; and Ines Triay, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, Department of Energy.

President Obama said, "These individuals have displayed the talent and dedication necessary to serve the American people well during these challenging times. They will be valuable additions to my administration, and I look forward to working with them as we work to turn our economy around and put our country on a path towards prosperity and security."

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:

Tom Perez, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice
Tom Perez is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and consumer advocate who currently serves as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). Under Perez’s leadership, DLLR protects and empowers working Americans.  The Department enforces workplace safety laws that provide critical safeguards to workers and communities; enforces wage and hour, and other worker protection laws that ensure wage security; protects consumers through the enforcement of a wide range of consumer rights laws, including the mortgage setting; and collaborates with businesses and workers to address critical workforce development needs and build a world-class workforce.  Perez has extensive experience in foreclosure prevention and was a principal architect of a sweeping package of state reforms to address the foreclosure crisis in Maryland. A graduate of Brown University, Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Perez has spent his entire career in public service. From 2002 until 2006, Perez was a member of the Montgomery County Council.   He was the first Latino ever elected to the Council, and served as Council President in 2005.  Earlier in his career, Perez spent 12 years in federal public service.  As a federal prosecutor for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, he prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of some of the Department’s most high profile civil rights cases, including a hate crimes case in Texas involving a group of white supremacists who went on a deadly, racially motivated crime spree.  Perez later served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno.  Among other responsibilities, Secretary Perez chaired the interagency Worker Exploitation Task Force, which oversaw a variety of initiatives designed to protect vulnerable workers.  Perez previously served as Special Counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy, and was Senator Kennedy’s principal adviser on civil rights, criminal justice and constitutional issues.  For the final two years of the Clinton administration, Perez served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  Perez was a law professor for six years at University of Maryland School of Law and is a part-time professor at the George Washington School of Public Health. 

Linda A. Puchala, Nominee for Member, National Mediation Board
Linda A. Puchala is currently the Sr. Mediator (ADR) and the Associate Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services at the National Mediation Board. She joined the National Mediation Board in May 1999, as a Mediator, working on both airline and railroad cases.  In her current capacity, Puchala directs the Board's ADR training programs, develops and maintains the training curriculum, and delivers training to interested parties. She also remains active as a mediator in airline and railroad cases, and she conducts facilitation and grievance mediation.  Prior to joining the Board, Puchala had over 30 years of experience in Labor Relations, including work as International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, CWA, AFL-CIO, and Staff Director, Michigan State Employees Association, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.  Puchala holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan.

James W. Miller, Nominee for Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service, United States Department of Agriculture
Jim Miller is currently the Chief of Staff for the National Farmers Union, a position he accepted after serving for over four years as the Senior Analyst for Agriculture and Trade on the majority staff of the Senate Budget Committee.  While at the Senate, Miller also provided agricultural policy analysis for Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture and Finance Committees.  Prior to joining the Budget Committee staff, Miller served as the Chief Economist for the National Farmers Union (NFU) for five years.  Before joining the NFU, he was Vice President for Government Relations for the National Association of Wheat Growers.  Jim operated a fourth generation family farm in eastern Washington State for over 20 years before moving to Washington, DC. His family is still engaged in the production of wheat, barley, lentils and canola.  Throughout his farming career Jim was involved in numerous farm organizations and served as President of the National Association of Wheat Growers in 1987.  He also was Co-chairman of the Canada-U.S. Joint Commission on Grains, a federal commission established to help resolve grain trade issues between the two countries.  Miller is a graduate of Washington State University.  He currently lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife Sandy.   They have two married sons and two grandsons.

Dallas P. Tonsager, Nominee for Under Secretary for Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture
Dallas Tonsager was appointed to the Board of the Farm Credit Administration on November 30, 2004, for a term that expires May 21, 2010.  Tonsager also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, which is responsible for ensuring the timely payment of principal and interest on obligations issued on behalf of FCS banks. Tonsager brings to his position extensive experience as an agricultural leader and producer and a commitment to promoting and implementing innovative development strategies to benefit rural residents and their communities. As executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center in Huron from 2002 until his appointment to the FCA Board, he coordinated initiatives to better serve producers interested in developing value-added agricultural projects. Services provided by the center include project facilitation, feasibility studies, business planning, market assessment, technical assistance, and education.  In 1993 he was selected by President William J. Clinton to serve as the State director in South Dakota for "Rural Development" for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1999, he was recognized as one of two outstanding State directors in the nation by then-USDA Under Secretary Jill Long Thompson. His term concluded in February 2001.  Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, South Dakota. In partnership with his brother, he owns Plainview Farm in Oldham, a family farming operation that includes corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. Tonsager is a graduate of South Dakota State University, where he earned a B.S. in agriculture in 1976. He and his wife, Sharon, have two sons (Keith and Joshua) and a daughter-in-law (Lindsey).

Ines Triay, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, Department of Energy
In her 24 years of work with the Department of Energy's environmental programs, Ines Triay has devoted her professional career to cleaning up the legacy of the Cold War. Triay spent 14 years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico before moving to the Department of Energy, first in the Carlsbad field office and then in the Washington, DC headquarters. In 2005, Triay became the Chief Operating Officer for Environmental Management, and she was named to the top career position there in October, 2007. In this capacity, she has served as the acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management since November, 2008. Triay is the author of more than 150 presentations, reports, and peer-reviewed publications. She has received several awards including the Dixy Lee Ray Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Triay was born in Cuba and came to the US when she was 3 years old. Raised in Puerto Rico, she earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Miami, Florida and conducted her post-doctoral studies at Los Alamos.


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